Those of us fortunate enough to grow up with grandparents understand how important they were (and are) in our lives. I grew up knowing my mother's parents and maternal great-grandmother; my paternal grandparents had died when I was quite young, although I do remember some holiday celebrations
My great-grandmother took care of my mother when she was little, so her parents (my grandparents) could work without worry. Today, this model is still common in many cultures around the world. Both parents are often working and grandmothers (and grandfathers) are helping to raise their grandchildren.
I remember my grandmother’s visits very well, and saw my great-grandmother, quite elderly by that time, during the summer vacations. Grandma would arrive for visits laden with boxes and jars of wonderful delicacies that our mother didn’t have time to prepare. When we were little, she kept us busy and happy with painting, making pasta necklaces and pasta artwork, trying to teach us how to sew dresses for our dolls. Her legendary attempts to teach me to crochet, unfortunately, fell on hands that just didn't catch on.
A few years ago, my grandmother gave me a shoebox filled with some of her mother’s heirlooms and photos. I looked through it briefly, but had then forgotten about it until last month.
My grandmother had told me stories about her childhood, but these photo discoveries really brought my family history to life. I finally got to put faces to those stories I had heard over the past few years, and to see my family heritage displayed in front of me.
Last week I sat with my grandmother and together we looked through these family memories. As we viewed each photo and heirloom, she began to tell stories she hadn't mentioned before about the people and events in each picture.